Weekend Box Office: Lego Movie Repeats; About Last Night Tops New Releases

Those little Legos are continuing to pull in big numbers as the first blockbuster of 2014 continues to perform well in its second week of release. The animated 3D pic not only looks like it will easily hold onto its number one status, but will have taken down four new releases in the process.

(Credit: Warner Brothers)

Warner Brothers (a subsidiary of Time Warner (NYSE: TWX  ) )

The line

The Lego Movie

Finish: 1st place / Est. budget: $60 million / 3-day estimated total: $48.8 million/ 4-day estimated total: $60 million/ Est. total to date: $140 million

Winter's Tale

Finish: 7th place / Est. budget: $75 million / 3-day estimated total: $7.5 million/ 4-day estimated total: $8.5 million

The analysis

After last week's stunning opening totals, it is not a shock in the least that Lego held onto the top position over the weekend. Strong word of mouth among adults and repeat viewings by kids and families no doubt had a hand in the film's awesome week two performance -- Lego this weekend had the second-best Valentine's Day/President's Day holiday haul of all time, falling just short of Valentine's Day, which bowed to a $63.1 million opening in 2010.

Still Valentine's Day aside, this weekend's results continued the trend of romance movies not always being as profitable in February as you might expect. The studio's other big release this weekend, Winter's Tale, may end up being one of 2014's worst openings. The convoluted Tale is estimated to have had a budget of around $75 million, but some analysts have that number even higher. Tale is looking at an $8.5 million total haul, which is down from the (already low) $10 million that had been predicted.

The future

The success of Lego will definitely help offset the failure of Winter's Tale, and Warner Brothers' 2014 slate is jam-packed. The studio will come roaring back in March with the sequel to 300. When a studio has the number of releases this one does on its 2014 calendar, it is bound to have a few flops. I expect Warner to have more hits than misses and is on track for a banner 2014.

Sony (NYSE: SNE  )

The line

About Last Night

Finish: 2nd place / Est. budget: $13 million / 3-day estimated total: $27 million/ 4-day estimated total: $30 million

RoboCop

Finish: 3rd place / Est. budget: $100 million / 3-day estimated total: $21 million/ 4-day estimated total: $25 million

The Monuments Men

Finish: 4th place / Est. budget: $70 million / 3-day estimated total: $15.3 million/ 4-day estimated total: $18 million/ Est. total to date: $46.7 million

The analysis

Sony may not have had the top spot, but it still commanded the box office with three of the top five films, led by 2014's Hollywood hero Kevin Hart. The urban remake of About Last Night bucked the recent trend of February romance movies failing to live up to their expectations and more than doubled its production budget, easily leading the four new releases. Distributed under the company's Screen Gems division, the film was a big hit with audiences. It slowed after a big Friday (which was actually Valentine's Day), dipping slightly from estimates that hit as high as $35 million.

RoboCop was one of the movies that surged later in the weekend, after the romantic rush. The film opened during the brunt of last week's winter storm and got beat up at the box office. However the joint MGM/Sony production looked to rebound slightly and should end its first week with $30 million in total (counting its pre-weekend early release numbers). Now on paper a $30 million opening weekend for a tentpole release with a production budget around $100 million is not great, but there are a lot of factors in play here. Namely, international earnings on this reboot were huge. While the film didn't top the charts here, it did in 15 markets across the world, taking in $75 million over 24 countries, so it has actually already recouped its money and still has a number of key markets to go.

Meanwhile the studio's Monuments Men keeps chugging along with another respectable haul to add to its total. This adult-targeted pic should continue to have legs at the box office thanks to its ensemble headlined by George Clooney.

The future

The studio's march through February isn't done quite yet as disaster pic Pompeii opens next weekend and will go head to head with Kevin Costner's action thriller Three Days To Kill. After that Sony takes a breather until April where it will debut the first of eight movies over the spring/summer timeframe. With four movies still in play, look for the studio to have an impact on the box office during that down time.

Universal (a subsidiary of Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA  ) )

The line

Endless Love

Finish: 4th place / Est. budget: $20 million / 3-day estimated total: $13.5 million/ 4-day estimated total: $15.1 million

Ride Along

Finish: 6th place / Est. budget: $25 million / 3-day estimated total: $8.7 million/ 4-day estimated total: $10 million/ Est. total to date: $117.4 million

Lone Survivor

Finish: 9th place / Est. budget: $40 million / 3-day estimated total: $4.1 million/ 4-day estimated total: $4.9 million/ Est. total to date: $119.2 million

The analysis

Universal clearly won January with the one-two punch of Ride Along and Lone Survivor and February's not looking too bad for the studio either. Both of those movies continue to perform and now both have crossed the $100 million mark. Its newest entrant, Endless Love, may not have big a massive hit but it will turn a small profit.

The movie, based on the 1981 Franco Zeffirelli film starring Brooke Shields (which is in turn based on the 1979 best-selling book by Scott Spencer), will earn around $15 million over the long weekend. At one point the film was tracking to pull in $20 million over the break, but as with About Last Night, it was affected by the sudden change in audience preferences from Friday to Saturday. Love also opened in 25 markets internationally where it earned another $5 million before moving on to to nearly 40 additional countries in the weeks to come.

The future

Universal's not done yet -- in two weeks the studio bows Non-Stop, its final release of this frame. Liam Neeson's latest actioner will be Universal's last release until May. It's been a good winter for Universal and it has wide releases on its summer slate, including a period in August where it has a new film debuting in four of the month's five weeks.

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